Operation Fiela targets Central Port Elizabeth

MAY 16, 2015

Police, the SANDF and Home Affairs officials on Friday night conducted another major raid around Central in Port Elizabeth and while searching for criminal elements and contraband such as drugs, they were also checking if all foreign nationals in the area had their papers in order.

Police have not yet released information on how many individuals may have been arrested.

The raid was carried out under the ongoing Operation Fiela, which according to government is meant to root out criminals and undocumented migrants - and is not necessarily targeted at foreigners. Operation Fiela was launched by government after xenophobic violence swept through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last month.

On Thursday, the same raids were conducted in Korsten where around 140 vehicles and 375 individuals searched - 77 undocumented migrants were arrested. These were mostly Somalis, who were taken to Home Affairs by officials to ascertain their credentials.

Similar raids were held in East London last week which has seen about 100 foreigners jailed while Home Affairs allegedly ascertains their status in the country.

More than 900 individuals have been detained so far since the operation began in Johannesburg and Durban in the past three weeks - and government last Thursday said the operation will continue as long as they are required.

“Operation Fiela is targeted in certain areas, which were areas pointed out to government by the communities as drug infested.

"These areas that the operation focuses on might have a lot of foreign nationals but there are also South Africans who are living in those areas. The arrests that have been made are not necessarily foreigners; they are South Africans who were found with illegal weapons and drugs.

“As a country that prides itself with having the best and most liberal Constitution in the world, we have taken a centre stage on human rights issues, [and] as such we cannot authorise an operation that will violate the human rights of any individuals or groups,” Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams, told the media following a Cabinet meeting last week.

Image: eNCa.